K-9 Handler Finds Missing Girl After Dog Gets ‘Happy Tail’ Near Locked Park Building

K-9 Handler Finds Missing Girl After Dog Gets ‘Happy Tail’ Near Locked Park Building

In a media environment that thrives on making police look like the bad guys in almost every situation, it’s refreshing to get a reminder of what our police accomplish on a daily basis.

And in this case, what they can accomplish with America’s favorite pet, canis lupis familiaris (i.e., the dog).

On Friday evening, an 11-year-old girl went missing in Wimauma, Florida.

According to WTVT-TV, Deputy Sarah Ernstes and K-9 Mary Lu of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office “tracked the 11-year-old to a neighbor’s house, where they learned the residents had given her a ride to a nearby apartment complex.”

Unbeknownst to Ernstes and Mary Lu, the little girl had locked herself in the bathroom of a park in the area.

It was Mary Lu who alerted police to that locked door.

In a video taken on Ernstes’ body cam, you can see Mary Lu wagging her tail as she leads Ernstes and another deputy to the park bathroom.

Ernstes says in the footage, “She does have happy tail over here at these bathrooms, which she only does when she’s close to somebody.”

It took a little bit of coaxing from Ernstes to convince the girl to come out, but eventually she emerged, to be greeted by the happy dog.

Thankfully, this was one missing person story that had a happy ending, all thanks to the good work of a well-trained police dog.

In the words of Sheriff Chad Chronister, “Our teamHCSO K9 Unit has once again proven its invaluable role in our community.”

“With their exceptional skills, they successfully located and brought home a missing 11-year-old girl, reuniting her safely with her family. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s commitment to service and determination to protect and serve.”

Chronister is absolutely right in his assessment.

Police departments invest time and resources in training these dogs for a reason — they are an invaluable resource.


As demonstrated by Mary Lu, their superior sense of smell allows them to detect anomalies that would otherwise go unnoticed by the average person, even a highly trained police officer.

Further, the sheer trainability of dogs means they can exhibit certain clear behaviors (like “happy tail”) on finding a clue, which makes it easy for police to to see and understand what the K-9 may have found.

It’s no wonder, then, that K-9 units are considered as much a part of the police force as the officers themselves.

This story, moreover, illustrates the good work our police do every day, often unnoticed, rescuing missing people, solving crimes, and just generally ensuring society operates peacefully.

Despite the bad actors the establishment media loves to devote its time and energy to (or make its sacrificial lambs, like Derek Chauvin), your average police officer is simply trying to make the community a safer place for everyone.

And isn’t that something worth celebrating?

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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